Centennial celebrates importance of refuge


Posted: Friday, August 01, 2003

The Kenai Peninsula is shaped by the 1.92-million-acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge provides unequaled opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing. While providing those opportunities for humans, one of the refuge's primary missions is to conserve fish and wildlife populations and their habitats.

On Saturday, there will be an opportunity to celebrate the centennial of the national wildlife refuge system. Festivities will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kenai Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Ninilchik.

Alaskans often are critical of the amount of public land that make up their state. Those public lands, however, mean we are all owners of some of the most valuable resources in the world. That ownership requires us to be good stewards of the land and the wildlife that first claimed this as home.

Saturday will be celebration of the foresight of President Theodore Roosevelt, who established the first national wildlife refuge in 1903 at Pelican Island, Fla. It also will be a reminder of the huge responsibility that is ours to protect this system.

We hope Kenai Peninsula residents will be out in force to enjoy the celebration.

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